US Representative Has Died at 65

US Representative Has Died at 65

( – The Payne family has long represented Newark, New Jersey. Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) succeeded his father in holding the Congressional seat and was in the midst of his sixth term when tragedy struck. On April 6, the congressman suffered a heart attack as a complication of his diabetes and remained hospitalized, unconscious. The lawmaker ultimately passed away on Wednesday, April 24.

Governor Phil Murphy (D) announced Payne’s untimely death at 65 years old, calling him a “steadfast champion for the people of New Jersey.” He had held the seat since winning a special election in 2012 after his father, Donald Payne Sr., died in the middle of his term. In 1988, the Payne patriarch became the first black man in the state’s congressional delegation.

Payne Jr followed in his father’s footsteps, winning a tight primary race to win the general election. During his time in office, he actively advocated for his community, fighting for lead testing in the school water systems, promoting a gun buyback program, and helping to win $900 million in funding for the Gateway tunnel project.

Prior to the 2022 midterm elections, Payne chaired two prominent subcommittees. He was also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, which said it would remember him for his kindness as much as his work for the state in championing causes such as the climate crisis, free college tuition, and voting rights expansion.

President Joe Biden issued an official White House statement following Payne’s passing, saying his “kind strength and generosity of spirit won him love across his district and the U.S. Congress.” He pointed out that the congressman lived his entire life in one place, “committed to the city,” doing everything he could for his constituents.

Payne’s current term would have run out on January 3, 2025. The state hasn’t yet scheduled a date for a special election to fill his seat. The congressman leaves behind his wife, Beatrice, and their 25-year-old triplets.

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